There are ties that bind us to this world and one another. Whether a carbon footprint on the face of the Earth or the karmic energy between cultures and neighbors, we exude “emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength” — that’s a profound truth, not just a Rush lyric from “The Spirit of Radio.” Fortunately a lot of that feedback is beautiful, unifying and loving. Much of it also stems from the toxicity of fear in society: the animal instinct of fight or flight or a desire to dominate others. Seeing police randomly killed as a response to the injustice of Eric Garner does humanity no good service. The NYPD gaffes of 2014 have also been frighteningly anti-empathy. If Rudy Giuliani is intent on fanning the flames he is even more cancerous than I thought. Occupy is not going away and protestors are not enemies of war, inherently.
Hip-hop renegade Azealia Banks discussing cultural smudging starts a great conversation, though we also live in a post-2000 age of hyper-media collage. We are living in the future and must co-exist. These are complex issues. Any Transmetropolitan comic book fans out there? I hope Azealia stops beefing with Iggy Azalea and they both further a healthy conversation about culture exchange. Listeners can also focus on how lame the capable-of-being-brilliant Eminem’s lyrics have stagnated lately into the worst misogyny of his career. Truly a damn shame. I’d rather listen to KRS-One talk shop than hear Eminem emanate Ray Rice.
At the bars and late night diners of our lovely city of Kingston I like to frequent, there’d an influx of people home for the holidays and perhaps too much in their cups. I heard a lot of homophobic remarks from tables crowded with goofy-ass clownshoes jock dweebs, people with the objectivity of a doorstop who are also a disgrace to the grand history of professional sports because they support lowest common denominator values on every level. I hate the “yo, that’s my boy” violent and homophobic mentality in much of society. Sadly, on any side of the color divide you can find this, a real lack of compassion, camaraderie and acceptance of other human beings that undermines our lives instead of bolstering them. Remember, Captain America is supposed to beat up Nazis, remember?
I’m against censorship. The Sony/The Interview saga is a catastrophe and the only time I have ever agreed with Romney or Newt about something. I saw Gwar with Dave Brockie on vocals 12 times in my life. I think Run the Jewels 2 is a landmark album for 2014 and “Love Again” has something for him or her in the lyrics. I’m no prude. Still, overhearing words like “bitch”, the n-word or other person-negating terms used (even in a “de-powered” context) lately just rubs me the wrong way. These are vital times and those words have not served our people well. By our people I mean human beings of all stripes. It was disconcerting last weekend to hear a lot of racism, sexism and homophobia in our midst. Please chill out, jerks, egoists and mobsters.
Some better news
The Dusty Spokes Toy Drive Annual event raised spirits yet again in 2014. Good people with warm hearts are the backbone of our community. We all remember the heroism of firefighters and the most well intentioned police who serve with honor. They do exist. TK Wonder and Simi Stone with DJ Sterling at BSP the same night as a killer mearth, It’s Not Night … It’s Space and Tarpit Boogie show in our city last week shows a great cross-section of styles alive and well.
Michael Wilcock, local tech guru and drummer of power pop genuises Kitty Little (and formerly of the beloved duo The Kiss-Ups) is my guest this week. Kitty Little will be playing BSP in early 2015 (Friday, Jan. 9th to be precise).
“This show is bringing together the far reaches of the Hudson Valley, we’ve got Control, a melodic punk band from Northern Jersey and who frequent the Warwick punk scene. We’ve got Lady Daze, a female stoner rock/punk band from Warwick, Kitty Little, a poppy catchy punk band, whose members are spread between Buffalo, Albany and Stone Ridge, and The Fasads, an ’80s-style punk band who are based in Stone Ridge and High Falls,” says Wilcock.
Mike’s doing double duty playing in the Fasads and Kitty Little. He has been in bands with Kitty Little frontman Matto LaQue since they were in their mid teens. The Fasads are all Hudson Valley punk scene veterans bringing together ’80s punk, Two-Tone and Latin elements into a high-energy, dance-inspiring blend.
“One of my favorite things about the Hudson Valley and Kingston area this year has actually been the evolution of BSP as a legitimate, quality music venue,” Mike says. “They have filled a niche that has been desperately empty here.”
Need to hear some music to help shed stressful energy? New York City’s So Hideous released Last Poem/First Light via Prosthetic Records and Bandcamp in 2014. The post-rock and intense black metal influences are augmented by beautiful strings and keys. The musical movements feel like an expansive-yet-abrasive mist settling around you. Sheets of guitar crash like waves. The band has toured with provocateurs I Am Heresy and generally raised the bar for art metal this year.
“Our Best New York show in 2014 was absolutely the Prosthetic Records Showcase at St. Vitus in Brooklyn with Junius and InAoena,” says bandleader Brandon Cruz. “All the bands had powerful, reverb-drenched sets and it had the feeling of something special from the onset.”
Yeah, do yourself a favor and stop weaning at the sterile pop music teat in 2015, if you haven’t yet detached. Like Liam Neeson said to Ewan McGregor in that one movie, your focus determines your reality. Our community is a springboard for peace, love and values that can still change the world. Let’s make it even more so in 2015.